October 27-29, 2017, (Dragon Run on the 28th).
“Back of the Dragon” is a 32 mile drive from Tazewell, VA to Marion, VA. A classic twisty road, the two-lane ribbon of asphalt known as VA-16 features blind curves, various switchbacks, and steep elevations changes over 3 mountains in a rural setting with a 55 MPH speed limit for most of the length that will cause trouble if you don't pay attention. It's not all constant curves and corners though, there's the occasional straight away that allows the driver to relax for a moment or two or to pass any local cars not running up to speed.
The 2017 edition of the Back of the Dragon GTG and Road Rally (BoD 5.0) has been expanded for the second year and includes cruising Big Walker Mountain, Grape Field Road, Burkes Garden Road (to the valley and back), rolling through Tazewell and ending with a run down The Back of the Dragon itself. The route, beginning at the host hotel in Wytheville and terminating at Hungry Mother State Park just outside Marion, is 95.5 miles and takes about 2.5 hours not including planned stops.
This mid-autumn get-together and rally is the perfect complement to May’s Tail of the Dragon GTG and offers amazing twisty road adventures in the scenic Virginia mountains at the height of the fall foliage season.
1- There is no designated “Leisure Group” for Back of the Dragon. If you prefer a more casual run, please position your car to the rear of the line up. If, during the run, the pace is too fast, feel free to signal the cars behind to pass on the straights or reposition at convenient opportunities -- we'll all catch up to one another at the stops along the way. Along the route, there's only 1 or 2 places to take a wrong turn and those will be pointed out.
2- It is a public highway with local traffic and law enforcement so be forewarned.
3- While the speed limit ranges from 40 to 55, drive within your ability and allow a safe distance between you and the car ahead of you.
4- Back of the Dragon 5.0 is hosted by the Mid Atlantic States Beetle Group, a subgroup of newbeetle.org, but we do not require you to drive a Beetle (though it is preferred). BoD is scheduled for the last Saturday in October that is not Halloween.
2013- sweater/coat; some snow on hillsides
2014- short sleeves; sunny and warmish
2015- cool; some sun, pleasant
2016- cool to warm, overnight frost
(*This is a mid-fall event in the mountains and it does get cool to cold at night.)
As far as accommodations, Best Western Wytheville Inn, 355 Nye Rd., Wytheville, VA, 276-228-7300, is the host hotel for the event and the location for the start of the rally. A room block and special price has been established there at a rate of $68.99 plus tax per night for the 27th and 28th. Book directly with the hotel and mention my name, Donald Eaton and Beetle Group, for the rate. (If they transfer you to a general booking site, call back later. The rate is direct with the hotel) There are many other accommodation options in the area and you are welcome to book where you like though most activities will take place at the Best Western.
B0D 5.0 is a bit more casual than Tail of the Dragon in that there are no real set pieces other than the drive itself. However, this is what we did last year and plan for this year:
Travel day and hotel check in.
8pm: (optional) Caravan from Best Western Wytheville to nearby Crackerbarrel for dinner
815AM (optional) buffet breakfast at nearby Shoneys - caravan at 8AM. Best Western also has a Continental breakfast for those staying there.
10AM: Driver's Meeting at Best Western
10:30AM: Road Rally begins from Best Western following new route.
2PM +/-: Rally Ends at Hungry Mother State Park then
Lunch in Marion or picnic in park (optional)
You choose activities (optional)
8PM - Group Dinner (optional) TBD
6AM - 9AM Best Western Continental Breakfast in "playpen" (optional)
8AM Big Walker Tunnel/Mountain Run (about one hour) reversing last year's direction. Super Sport Class.
Truck Stop Breakfast (optional)
Departure (for some)
You pick activities for those staying over
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